When we first started talking about a family vacation in Mexico, flying from the Tijuana Airport seemed like a great option – and bonus points because it was easy and cheap!
Now before I go on, please purge from your list of negative associated with Tijuana – it is completely safe and very US-friendly. If our family is anything like yours, you might be feeling a little dubious about crossing the border to fly from Mexico. Truthfully, years ago when the border situation was a little rough, we may not have felt comfortable. But things have been safe for many years now, and our experience was flawless.
Knowing we would be traveling with several families from different cities, we planned the destination in Mexico first and the flights came afterwards. When comparing flights from Tijuana versus San Diego or Los Angeles, there was a remarkable cost savings. We ended up buying first class tickets on Aeromexico from Tijuana to our final destination in Mexico, which were still less expensive than flying in coach seats from San Diego! This was also a better deal than flying from LAX, so our LA family drove down to the border to join us.
Entering the US side of the CBX Bridge was a piece of cake
Even more compelling, a new cross-border pedestrian bridge was just completed that connects directly into the Tijuana Airport. The Cross Border Xpress (CBX) facility was recently opened, and the buildings on the US side are architecturally gorgeous, open and clean.
The process at CBX was ridiculously easy (and faster than LAX to be sure). We followed the simple directions to the CBX location, parked our car in their convenient lot for $15/day, and checked into our Aeromexico flights on the US side of the border. From there, we paid the small fee of $14 per person, and then walked the short distance across the border using the elevated bridge. On the Mexican side, we cleared customs and walked directly into the lobby of the Tijuana Airport.
The whole process took about 15 minutes from start to finish. Inside the airport, we proceeded to check our bags and go through security – the lines for both were short and fast-moving. We were astonished to find ourselves with too much time in the waiting area for our flight, which NEVER happens in our family (usually the opposite because we are always rushing to be on time).
Even the architecture of the CBX facility is impressive
Compare this to another experience when our family flew to Cancun, Mexico out of San Diego airport last year. We had to check in at San Diego Airport, show passports and fill out immigration forms, fly to Dallas, connect to a different flight, and eventually arrive in Cancun. We went through customs in Cancun, which took forever due to the crowds of visitors coming from all over. The amount of time in lines was staggering.
With the CBX experience, we cleared customs and immigration within the bridge connection before entering the Tijuana airport, and sailed through check-in, security and lines throughout our Aeromexico flights deeper into Mexico.
I highly recommend this travel option – we will definitely do it again!